UK associations comment on Brexit implications


After the UK’s momentous decision last week (June 23) to leave the EU, trade associations covering the construction equipment and material handling sectors have been quick to calm any fears that have arisen.

Rob Oliver (below), CEA chief executive made the following statement on June 27:

“We are now in the middle of a media firestorm – and political fallout – following the result of last week’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. All CEA member companies will be reflecting on what this means for their business and the wider implications for the UK construction equipment market and manufacturing sector. We know that the majority of our members were supportive of remaining in the EU but the CEA is now committed to helping to signpost the way forward and to represent the best interests of our sector as the new ‘post-EU’ world emerges.

“We will be joining with other business lobby groups to engage with government to stress the importance of an orderly transition. It will be a monumental task to unpick generations of EU laws embedded in the UK legal system – and to broker a sustainable deal to allow continued access to the Single Market. This is likely to mean great market uncertainty for some time but we will play our part to help secure the best possible outcome.

“The CEA’s immediate response has been to assure the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE) that we will continue to be an active member, as lobbying for business-friendly and coherent regulation for our sector from Brussels is a priority now and in the future. There is also a process whereby the UK can continue to have a voice as part of CEN (the European standards body). At home, we have also been in contact with the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to ensure that our agenda of cooperation is not blown off course by the present circumstances.

“More detail of the implications for our industry will emerge in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, I am recommending to the CEA Management Council that we put into place a Coordinating Group to identify the key challenges for our members and act as a conduit for information and action. If you would like to be part of this Group, or have immediate questions on the aftermath of the Brexit decision, please contact me directly or via the CEA office.”

Peter Ward (left), chief executive officer of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA), said on June 24, when the result of the referendum was announced: “This morning, the world looks like a very different place. A vote to leave the EU was not what we – or most of the pundits – were expecting. Indeed, UKWA polls have consistently shown a clear preference among members to remain.

“In my view, this momentous decision by the UK will have serious global implications, bringing new challenges for British businesses and particularly for those within our industry. Many of our members trade across Europe and have enjoyed the benefits of ‘logistics sans frontiers’ for 40 years, with goods entering and leaving our country freely. My hope now is that as new trade agreements are forged, there is no return to red tape and complex customs regulations that prove burdensome and costly for UKWA members.

“As usual the devil is in the detail, and we will work hard on behalf of our members to ensure those negotiating Britain’s exit fully understand the ramifications.

“On the positive side, we have for some time been talking about the new opportunities for British business emerging with the big superpowers in different parts of the world; already we are focusing on the tremendous potential in China – we have a UK-China Trade Mission planned for October and currently we’re running webinars for members and non-members to encourage and support them in exploring this exciting marketplace.

“In summary, as the Prime Minister has said this morning, there is no going back. We must now hold our nerve and plan for the future, not take a small island introspective view, but instead look to claim our place on the global platform.”

Our poll on the subject last week showed that – perhaps surprisingly – 62% of respondents believed the move would not have a damaging effect on the UK’s industrial vehicle industry. 

July 1, 2016

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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